Alsace (now part of Grand Est)
It was a number of years ago that we placed Alscae on our travel sights.
On our visit to this Region, after we had spent some time in Obernai we drove up to see Colmar (about 71 km from Strasbourg) and Strasbourg.
Colmar is the Capital of the Haut-Rhin Department and we found it to be a busy town with charm. The town is said to have inspired the work of french illustrator Hansi who later became a leader of the French Resistance during World War I.
There are lots of great buildings to see. It is a great photo-shoot as a canal runs through the town creating many opportunities for scenic water shots.
The town has great food. We stopped to pick up some food and enjoyed a very tasty and relaxing picnic.
The cathedral is rather bare with the exception of artwork. I am sure it was all famous but at the time it was kind of a blur! We just were doing too much at the time and we will have to return as the Colmar Museum is the most popular museum in France, outside of Paris! The altarpiece is reported to be stunning. It was created for the Issehheim hospital chapel.
We stopped at this town on our way to Strasbourg. The town is written up as one of the many-named "The Most Beautiful Village in France". Some of our stops, based on that declaration, were disappointments, but Petite Pierre was not in that group.
La Petite Pierre is vewry scenis and worth a slight deviation. Just a great vibe, nothing stands out as unique.
We also plan to return so that we can visit Neuf-Brisach. It has a fortress built in the 17th Century by Louis XIV.
Octagonla in shape, the fortress has canals, bastions and forts. Two of the four gates still remain. Always have a reason to return!
This town was the birthplace of St. Odile, the patron saint of Alsace.
We found a brief stop here to be worthwhile. It is one of those pretty little towns of Alsace with fine old buildings that are in very good condition. There are flowers hanging off every possible option.
Rather than just pass through, we stayed a night in Strasbourg.
We were originally drawn to the city the canals and the river. Would this be the Venice of France? The short answer is no but it is a very charming city, despite being large in size, and there is lots to see.
We took one of the boat tours along the river. It goes a good overview of some of the major sights along the river.
Two parts of the Ill River and a number of canals run through Strasbourg, there there is ample water shots as you walk about the town. There are quays with 16th Century houses covered in flowers so there is plenty to see.
Walk along Rue Mercière to view numerous half-timbered houses and this will lead you to the cathedral.
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame stands out as one of the sites to be seen in Strausbgourg. The spire can been seen from various locations in the town. With the spire, the Notre-Dame was the highest building of Christendom until 1800's.
The church dates from 1284 and has Gothic architecture. Constructed of red Vosges sandstone, the cathedral has large proportions. The stained glass , from the 14th Century,is stunning when the sun shines through. This is due to the unique clear hues that the glass makers of Strasbourg used at the time.
The cathdral is open from 7 to 11:30 and then from 12:40 to 7 pm. No charge to visit the cathdral, there is a charge to visit the Tower.
The astronomical clock is still in operation. Plan your time to be there at 12:30 noon to see the show. If you are rushed, there is an event on the 15 minute cycle.
You can climb the 300 steps up to the platform and from there see a great panoramic view of Strasbourg.
The Palais Rohan is the palace of the Prince-Archbishops. It was built in 1731-42. It now houses three importanat museums.
The columns to the left and right of the main door are massive!
Important people have stayed here including Louis XV, Marie Antoinette and Napoléon Bonaparte. When he stayed here he actually had some of the rooms changed so they would be more to the liking of his wife Joséphine!
The palace was damagted during World Wa II by both English and American bombs, but it was completed restored as late as 1990.
Petite France is the area between the two rivers - the river splits into canals. Make sure you have a spare memory card for you camera as there are endless photoshoots as you walk about this area of Strausbourg. The much-photographed tower, pictured to the right, dates from the 13th Century.